Religious Zionist Party

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Religious Zionist Party
הציונות הדתית
Chairman Bezalel Smotrich
Secretary-General Ofir Sofer
Founders Hanan Porat
Zvi Hendel
Split from National Religious Party
Merged into National Religious Party–Religious Zionism
HeadquartersBeit HaShenhav Building, Jerusalem, Israel
Political position Far-right [1] [2] [9] [10] [11] [12]
National affiliation National Union (1999–2013)
The Jewish Home (2013–2019)
URWP (2019) [13]
Yamina (2019, 2020–2021)
Member parties Otzma Yehudit (formerly)
Noam (formerly)
Most MKs7 (2022)
Election symbol


The Religious Zionist Party (Hebrew : הציונות הדתית, romanized: HaTzionut HaDatit, lit. 'The Religious Zionism'), known as Tkuma (Hebrew : תקומה, lit. 'Revival') [15] until 2021 and officially known as National Union–Tkuma (Hebrew : האיחוד הלאומי-תקומה, HaIchud HaLeumi–Tkuma), [16] was a far-right, [1] [2] ultra-nationalist, [2] Jewish supremacist, [2] and religious Zionist [1] [2] political party in Israel. [17] In all the elections since its founding in 1998, the party had joined other factions and competed as part of a united list. In 2023, the Religious Zionist Party and The Jewish Home agreed to merge to become National Religious Party–Religious Zionism. [18]



Tkuma was established by Hanan Porat and Zvi Hendel in 1998. The pair left the National Religious Party in reaction to the Wye River Memorandum. [19] Almost immediately after the creation of Tkuma, it joined together with Moledet and Herut – The National Movement, to form the National Union, a right-wing coalition which won four seats in the 1999 elections, with only one of those seats going to Tkuma. These elections were a failure for the right-wing bloc, and were won by Ehud Barak, leaving the National Union and Tkuma in the opposition. [20] In February 2000, Yisrael Beiteinu joined the National Union, alongside Tkuma, and the two parties joined Ariel Sharon's first government in 2001. One year later, Tkuma and the rest of the National Union left Sharon's government over disagreements over the handling of the Second Intifada. For the 2003 elections, the National Union kept its alliance with Yisrael Beiteinu, with its increased support helping to win seven seats for the entire list, and two for Tkuma. The party was included in Ariel Sharon's coalition, alongside Likud, Shinui, the National Religious Party, and Yisrael BaAliyah. [21]

Because of tensions over the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip (Tkuma was ideologically opposed, and Hendel lived in the Gaza settlement of Ganei Tal), National Union ministers Binyamin Elon and Avigdor Lieberman were sacked, and the party left the coalition. However, the National Union was bolstered by the addition of Ahi, which had split off from the National Religious Party when they decided to remain in the coalition. [22]

Before the 2006 elections, the alliance between the National Union and Yisrael Beiteinu was dissolved, and a new alliance between the National Union and the National Religious Party was formed, which won nine seats, two of which were allocated to Tkuma and taken by Hendel and Uri Ariel. [23]

On 3 November 2008, ahead of the 2009 elections, Tkuma faced a crisis. The party itself announced that it would unite with Ahi, the National Religious Party, and Moledet, to form a new right-wing party, [24] which was later named the Jewish Home. However, around half of the former Tkuma members later left the new party to re-establish Tkuma and rejoin the National Union alongside Moledet, Hatikva, and Eretz Yisrael Shelanu. [25] In the elections themselves, the National Union got four seats, with Tkuma getting two seats.

Initial logo of the united list of The Jewish Home and the National Union National Union Jewish Home.png
Initial logo of the united list of The Jewish Home and the National Union

Ahead of the 2013 elections, the National Union split, with all member parties except for Tkuma splitting off to form Otzma LeYisrael, leaving Tkuma as the only party left in the National Union. Tkuma proceeded to change its name to "National Union–Tkuma", appropriating the National Union name. The party opted to run as part of the Jewish Home list for the 2013 elections. The Jewish Home won 12 seats, four of which (Ariel, Ben-Dahan, Kalfa, and Strook) were members of Tkuma. The party decided to continue its alliance with the Jewish Home for the 2015 Knesset elections, [26] taking the 2nd, 8th, 13th, and 17th spots on the joint list. [27] The Jewish Home dropped to eight seats in that election. [28]

Old logo utilized by the party as "National Union" until 2021 National Union - Tkuma logo.png
Old logo utilized by the party as "National Union" until 2021

In 2019 Bezalel Smotrich took over party leadership, winning party elections in a landslide against Ariel. [29] Ahead of the April 2019 elections, the party joined with the Jewish Home and Otzma Yehudit to create the Union of Right-Wing Parties, which won five seats in the elections, [30] two of which went to National Union–Tkuma.[ citation needed ]

Ahead of the September 2019 elections, Tkuma and the Jewish Home agreed to form an alliance with the New Right, called Yamina, [31] with Tkuma leader Smotrich receiving the third spot on the joint list. [32]

Yamina officially split on 10 October 2019 into two Knesset factions – the New Right, and the Jewish Home–National Union. [33] For the 2020 elections, Otzma Yehudit and The Jewish Home agreed on 20 December to run together, [34] in an alliance later named the United Jewish Home. [35] Smotrich was critical of the move, stating that it was unlikely that the alliance would pass the electoral threshold. [36] Tkuma, The Jewish Home, and the New Right reformed Yamina on 15 January 2020. [37] On 22 April 2020 it was reported that Yamina leader Naftali Bennett was now "considering all options" for Yamina's political future, including departing from Netanyahu's government, which had just agreed to a coalition government with the leader of the opposition Blue and White party, Benny Gantz, and joining the opposition. Bennett was said to be unhappy with the new coalition government's decision to hold back on the issue of judicial reform. [38]

On 14 May 2020 The Jewish Home's only Knesset member, Rafi Peretz, ended his status as a member of Yamina, and agreed to join Netanyahu's new government as well. [39] [40] On 15 May, Tkuma, along with the New Right, split with Netanyahu and made the Yamina alliance a member of the opposition. On 17 May 2020 Bennett met with Gantz, who also succeeded him as defence minister, and declared that the Yamina party would be a member of the opposition, with its "head held high". [41] Tkuma was renamed on 7 January, [17] while it ended its membership in Yamina on 20 January 2021. [42]

Logo used in the 2021 Knesset elections as part of the rebranding of National Union party Religious Zionist party logo 2021.svg
Logo used in the 2021 Knesset elections as part of the rebranding of National Union party

In February 2021 the party agreed to run a shared list for the 2021 Knesset elections with Noam and Otzma Yehudit. [43] The list ran under the Religious Zionist Party name and won six seats, [44] four of which were filled by Religious Zionist Party members.[ citation needed ] On 14 June, after the swearing-in of the 36th government, MK Ofir Sofer split from the Likud faction and merged into the Religious Zionist Party, increasing the number of seats held by the party to seven. He had run during the election as part of the Likud list for Knesset, as a member of Atid Ehad party, using it as a shelf party (a dormant, but still-registered, party brought back into use). [45] [46]

The Religious Zionist Party, Noam and Otzma Yehudit submitted a single list on 14 September 2022 ahead of the 2022 Israeli legislative election.In the election,the party got 516 thousands votes,equivalent to 14 seats. [47] The parties split into three parties in the Knesset on 20 November 2022. [48]


The Religious Zionist Party is opposed to any territorial concessions to Palestinian or Syrian claims for land. Some members support the annexation of the entire West Bank, though the official policy of the Jewish Home parliamentary faction, of which the party was aligned between 2013 and 2019, only supports annexation of Area C of the West Bank, which makes up the 63% of land in the West Bank allocated to Israel in the Oslo Accords. [49] [50] The party is opposed to recognition of same-sex marriage on a religious basis. [51] The party advocates for increased funding for Torah study and religious education. [52] Jewish-American columnist David E. Rosenberg has stated that the Religious Zionist Party's "platform includes things like annexation of West Bank settlements, the expulsion of asylum-seekers, and political control of the judicial system". [2] He further described the Religious Zionist Party as a political party "driven by Jewish supremacy and anti-Arab racism". [2] The party has been assessed by The Middle East Journal as "militantly anti-Arab" and far-right. [1]


LeaderTook officeLeft office
1 Hanan Porat (portrait).JPG Hanan Porat 19981999
2 Zvi Hendel (portrait).JPG Zvi Hendel 19992009
3 Yaakov Katz, February 2018 (6146) (cropped).jpg Ya'akov Katz 20092012
4 Ariel uri-yehuda.jpg Uri Ariel 20122019
5 Bezalel Smotrich (portrait).jpg Bezalel Smotrich 20192023

Election results

1999 Hanan Porat Part of the National Union
1 / 120
Opposition (1999–2001)
Coalition (2001–2003)
2003 Zvi Hendel
2 / 120
Increase2.svg 1Coalition (2003–2004)
Opposition (2004–2006)
2006 Part of the NUNRP
2 / 120
2009 Ya'akov Katz Part of the National Union
2 / 120
2013 Uri Ariel Part of the Jewish Home
4 / 120
Increase2.svg 2Coalition
2 / 120
Decrease2.svg 2Coalition
Apr 2019 Bezalel Smotrich Part of the URWP
2 / 120
Steady2.svgSnap election
Sep 2019 Part of Yamina
2 / 120
Steady2.svgSnap election
2 / 120
2021 [lower-alpha 1] With Otzma Yehudit and Noam
4 / 120
Increase2.svg 2Opposition
2022 [lower-alpha 2]
7 / 120
Increase2.svg 3Coalition

Knesset members list

Knesset termSeatsMembers
2015–20192 Uri Ariel, Bezalel Smotrich
20192 Bezalel Smotrich, Ofir Sofer
2019–20202 Bezalel Smotrich, Ofir Sofer
2020–20212 Bezalel Smotrich, Ofir Sofer
2021–20225 Bezalel Smotrich, Michal Waldiger, Simcha Rothman, Orit Strook, Ofir Sofer [lower-alpha 3]
2022–20237 Bezalel Smotrich, Ofir Sofer, Orit Strook, Simcha Rothman, Michal Waldiger, Ohad Tal, Moshe Solomon, Zvi Sukkot (replaced Smotrich on 5 February 2023) [53]

See also


  1. Otzma Yehudit and Noam ran on the Religious Zionist Party list; the entire list won six seats, with Otzma Yehudit and Noam winning one each
  2. Otzma Yehudit and Noam ran on the Religious Zionist Party list; the entire list won fourteen seats, with Otzma Yehudit winning six and Noam winning one
  3. Joined during the Knesset term.

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